HOW TO PARTICIPATE
WELCOME TO KOBREGUIDE.COM, our online guide to the Web’s best video and multimedia journalism — or, as we call it, the Web’s most moving stories.This project is an antidote to comprehensive Web video portals, such as YouTube and MetaCafe… We’re focusing instead on handpicked, high-quality documentary-style journalism that is being produced primarily by major media outlets — and frustratingly difficult for consumers to find…
We’re a “curated” site (to use the latest buzzword, now that “edited” seems to have lost favor), which means that the stories we showcase are searched for, selected, annotated and organized by professional journalists.
Criteria? … Think “60 Minutes” TV newsmagazine-style journalism (NOT daily news or event coverage) — but geared for the Web… In short: True (nonfiction) journalism Web multimedia stories of the highest professional quality…
Let’s break it down:
1. True. Nonfiction. Not scripted or improv sitcom. Not America’s funniest home videos.
2. Journalism – meets professional standards and criteria, preferably (but not necessarily) produced by reputable major media news outlet… NOT daily news stories or events coverage, but rather feature pieces, probably with multiple sources/voices and possibly (but not necessarily) narration…
3. Must be on the Web (preferably created exclusively for the Web — i.e. not previously aired on TV).
4. Includes video and/or audio slideshow – i.e. compelling moving images. May include other cutting-edge multimedia elements, BUT ultimately video and/or photographs tell the story (not just charts, graphs, maps, illustrations)… And not just captioned photogalleries …
5. Documentary stories – not news event coverage, but rather “60 Minutes” TV newsmagazine-style pieces with a beginning, middle, end… interesting characters… and moral or point of view…. NOTE: We do not let the word “documentary” dissuade us from publishing lighthearted fare ; topics/themes need not be dreary…
6. Professional quality – the still and/or moving images, audio, writing, editing and storytelling must meet the journalism industry’s highest professional standards…
1. If you know anyone who is developing or producing Web multimedia journalism, please put us in touch with them: KenKobre@gmail.com
2. If you know of a media outlet that regularly produces top-notch Web multimedia journalism (e.g. a metro newspaper site), please email us its URL: KenKobre@gmail.com
3. If you come across any individual examples of these kinds of pieces in your Web travels, either previously or in the future, please email us the URL (or, if you don’t remember where you saw it, even a short description would help us locate it): KenKobre@gmail.com
All we need is a URL, but it would be helpful to also have: Name of Website; title of piece; brief description; why you like it and/or think it is meritorious… First submitters will be credited on the site, along with their comments…
BOTTOM LINE: As major media companies are migrating their resources from print and broadcast to their online ventures, multimedia journalism stories are coming into their prime on the Web… Little by little, truly excellent videojournalism is starting to blossom and flourish — the problem is, who has time to hunt for it?…
Our aim is to provide the quintessential daily guide to the best the medium has to offer, so that you don’t have to wade through a swamp of video nonsense to get to the good stuff…
1. Promote and champion professional multimedia journalism
KobreGuide is the portal for the Web’s most moving stories. It organizes and showcases the medium’s best documentary-style professional multimedia videojournalism. It is the Web’s TV Guide for non-fiction feature stories that incorporate audio and/or video components, and are about important people and issues. It is “60 Minutes” for the 21st Century — the thinking person’s YouTube.
For busy consumers, KobreGuide provides “one-stop shopping” for the Web’s best videojournalism. For media outlets, KobreGuide targets and delivers the sophisticated demographic and psychographic they have long been yearning for.
2. Offer exclusively professionally curated gems
Instead of offering user-generated content, or zillions of search-engine results, KobreGuide is meticulously curated by a staff of top journalists who hand-pick all selections and annotate and organize them so they can be easily searched and viewed. Visitors appreciate knowing that they will always be served a balanced five-course meal by top chefs, and not thousands of blades of grass.
3. Offer exclusively professionally produced stories
Instead of a swamp of amateur home videos, KobreGuide presents only the most sophisticated professional quality storytelling projects, generated by the world’s most distinguished journalism practitioners, including major media organizations who have won Pulitzers, Emmys and other industry awards.
If YouTube is the Web offspring of “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” KobreGuide is the next generation of “60 Minutes” style newsmagazines, which for years topped television ratings charts.
KobreGuide points viewers to the highest quality and attention-worthy documentary-style (i.e. non-news) videojournalism projects that are being produced by leading news organizations (e.g. New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, etc.) and reputable independent producers. These media organizations have the manpower and financial resources to dispatch journalists around the globe in search of the most important stories, developed and produced to the industry’s highest professional standards.
4. Make it simple and easy for viewers to use
KobreGuide hosts no multimedia content – instead, we simply showcase and annotate it, organize it by “channels,” present it on easy-to-navigate grids, and link directly to the source. Viewers can find stories with one click.
5. Offer only the best of the best
KobreGuide independently scouts, compiles, annotates and organizes content – we are neither a search engine nor a “dumping ground” for grass-roots contributions, nor do we aspire to be all-inclusive or comprehensive in scope. We will consider submissions, but ultimately everything that is featured on our site has been vetted and approved by our editorial staff, and is presented as the “cream of the crop.”
Unlike popular automated news aggregators (Google News, Yahoo News), KobreGuide selections are handpicked by seasoned journalists who not only scour the Web for suitable candidates, but also have professional relationships with the top media outlets (e.g. New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post, Detroit Free Press, etc.) who provide topnotch choices.
6. Help viewers save time
The advantage to time-strapped Web viewers – who are faced with an overwhelming amount of options — is that KobreGuide provides an “at a glance” map and compass to the most prestigious “must see” multimedia projects, and enable them to make intelligent viewing choices based on useful criteria (e.g. topic, tone, source, viewing time). We’re finding the needles in the haystack for them.
7. Help media outlets attract viewers
The advantage to the multimedia producers whose projects we feature (e.g. newspapers, magazines, TV shows, etc.) is that KobreGuide is directly connecting them to their Web audience – a challenge that has, to their collective despair, so far eluded even the top journalism brands. It has taken traditional “static” media a while to figure out how to tell “moving stories” – and now that they’re starting to get the hang of it, they still haven’t quite been able to generate enough viewership to satisfy advertisers. Consequently, quality Web multimedia journalism has been a perplexingly and distressingly money-losing proposition. This “one-stop” site will benefit professional journalism purveyors enormously by directly delivering eyeballs to their doorsteps.
Currently these prizeworthy videojournalism projects are well hidden. Though major news organizations began exploring Web multimedia possibilities since the necessary technology blossomed at the beginning of this century, it’s only been in the past year or so that their efforts have born meaningful fruit. Only recently have we begun to see well-crafted Web-specific reports that play to the strengths and characteristics of the medium and its audience. Alas, individual newspaper Websites are still struggling with how to draw audiences to their efforts. Casual visitors to these sites can easily miss the multimedia content – and, even after stumbling upon it, would have difficulty distinguishing the high quality material that’s worthy of their valuable time to view it. As a result, most of it goes unseen and unappreciated… to the dismay of the producers and media outlets who have heavily invested in it, and are banking on mass audience appeal to lure the advertising dollars needed to monetize future efforts.
8. Help local media outlets find a national audience
While there are meritorious Webvideo reports of local or regional interest, KobreGuide is primarily looking for hidden gems that have universal appeal. While many Web travelers are likely to look at the online version of their local newspaper, they are unlikely to peruse the newspaper Websites of other cities, where multimedia stories of universal interest to them may in fact reside. KobreGuide will therefore serve as a one-stop aggregator of the world’s best English language newsfeature multimedia.
9. Provide substance and variety
How long are the stories? They range in length from a watercooler break (1-3 minutes) to a snack (5-10 minutes) to a one-hour feast. Using the print magazine model, some are columns or departments and others are cover stories. They are not the equivalent of TV news stories, though some may be “backgrounders” that provide a closeup focus on a personal story that brings to life a bigger issue or event.
While KobreGuide is designed to appeal to the visual generation, we are not in competition with YouTube, MetaCafe or Revver, in that our audience yearns for high-quality professionally produced content – a nutritious meal, not empty calories.
10. Resurrect the lost art of non-fiction storytelling
What kind of projects are most likely to be found on KobreGuide? People oriented stories. Stories that show emotion. Stories that have an impact. Stories that are important. Stories with a narrative arc – beginning, middle, end. Stories people will care about. Stories that are interesting. Stories that enable you to learn, and to better function as an intelligent citizen of the world. Stories you’ll want to share with your family, friends and colleagues. Stories about topics and issues that affect you. Stories that are good to know. Stories that you need to know. Stories with information that will improve your awareness, knowledge and understanding. Stories that will deepen and broaden your perceptions. Stories that are life-changing and life-affirming. Stories that are entertaining. Stories that are good for you.
Here are the qualities we consider when selecting video and multimedia journalism for inclusion in KobreGuide:
1. GOAL: What is the point of this story? What did it set out to say or do? Did it accomplish that?
2. INNOVATION: What specifically makes this execution special ? What did the reporter and/or videographer do differently or unusually that warrants our attention? What makes it qualitatively stand out from similar efforts by others?
3. INFORMATION: What new light does it shed on the subject matter? What new ideas or data are presented? What makes this information important and worth knowing? What makes it valuable to us?
4. JOURNALISM: What are the journalistic merits of this story? What journalistic qualities are worth pointing out? Is it fair? Balanced? Investigative? Adversarial? Contrarian? Probing? Illuminating? Does it employ good sources? Good interviews? Resourceful hard-hitting reporting?
5. STORYTELLING: Does it employ storytelling techniques that make it memorable and compelling?
6. VISUAL STRENGTHS: What makes this a gripping, well-structured piece of video (or audio-slideshow)? How did the reporter and/or videographer best make use of imagery to tell this story? What distinguishes the way this was SHOT and EDITED?
7. AUDIO STRENGTHS: How does the audio track enhance this story? How does it best use voices, natural sounds, ambient sounds, sound effects, music?
8. MULTIMEDIA STRENGTHS: How does this story maximize the potential of this medium? How does this story creatively combine media (still photography, videography, audio, graphics) for maximum impact?
9. CONTEXT: Why this story now? What was the impetus for telling this story? How does this compare to other coverage of similar subject matter?
10. PROCESS: What unusual steps did videographer/journalist take in pursuing this story? What is notable about the approach taken to report and/or present this story?
11. IMPACT/ CALL TO ACTION: How does this story shape our thinking? How does it emotionally move us? How does it change the way we think or feel or behave? What exactly does this story inspire us to do, or do differently?
Ken Kobré heads the photojournalism program at San Francisco State University. His former students, who include winners of the Pulitzer Prize, World Press Awards, and many other prestigious honors, work on staff and as freelancers for publications and media outlets around the world.
Ken’s textbook,“Photojournalism: The Professionals’ Approach,” published by Focal Press-Elsevier, has been the widest-selling text on photojournalism in the world since 1980. It is now in its sixth edition.
He is also a co-author of the 7th and 8th editions of “Photography” (Prentice Hall) the world’s leading basic photography textbook. His other books include “How to Photograph Friends and Strangers,” published by Curtin & London.
He is the inventor of the Lightscoop, a universally acclaimed camera accessory that instantly and inexpensively improves pop-up flash photographs.
Ken maintains an active freelance career that has included assignments for Newsweek, Time, the New York Times, as well as for corporate clients such as Hewlett-Packard, Levi Strauss and Apple Computer.
He has worked widely in developing countries including Malaysia, Thailand, India, Bangladesh,Indonesia, Egypt and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He also has taught numerous workshops on photography including one in the Czech Republic for photojournalists from the former Eastern Bloc.
Ken is a past winner of the respected Robin F. Garland Educator Award from the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) and for four years directed the University of Missouri/NPPA Pictures of the Year Awards.
Betsy Brill has mastered multiple disciplines in journalism and communication — from daily photojournalism to business magazine writing and editing to book design and project management. With her husband, photojournalist and professor Ken Kobré, Betsy spent more than a year of travel researching and writing about microfinance approaches in Egypt, India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. Among other articles resulting from the year’s journey, the pair’s five-part series on the topic for the San Francisco Examiner was a Pulitzer nominee and Betsy’s writing a runner-up in the Pen West awards for non-fiction. Betsy now is Executive Vice President of EVERYTHING at Lightscoop, and is a director and co-founder of HandUp Congo, a non-profit that helps provide education and sustainable development tools to communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Jerry Lazar is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has three decades of editorial management experience in print, broadcast, and the Internet. After creating the first professionally produced arts-and-entertainment Webzine, The Gigaplex, he has helped launch and manage journalism and commercial Websites for such clients as The Hollywood Reporter, CBS, Mitsubishi, Ticketmaster, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Actors Equity, AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America. Lazar was a staff writer for TV Guide, and the West Coast Bureau Chief of US Magazine. He has edited and written for many major periodicals, including Esquire, Premiere, Playboy, and the New York Times Magazine. For Time Inc. Custom Publishing, Lazar created and edited successful newsstand magazines for Warner Bros. Studios and the Walt Disney Company. He has served as a contributing editor to Written By magazine, California magazine and Hollywood magazine, and was Lifestyle Editor of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. In the TV arena, Lazar hosted and produced “Extreme Close-Up,” a celebrity talk show for E! Entertainment Television, and additionally produced “Last Call” and “Q&E” in conjunction with Brandon Tartikoff. Lazar received his master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Jim McNay founded the photojournalism program at Brooks Institute of Photography and taught there for seven years. For twelve years he headed the photojournalism program at San Jose State University where his students won the College Photographer of the Year award and William Randolph Hearst photojournalism national championship. While at Brooks, McNay led the annual overseas documentary class to Central Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic and Australia. He also taught high school for three years in Sierra Leone as a member of the Peace Corps. Currently McNay produces a monthly critique for photographers on the Sports Shooter Website.
McNay has been a member of the Eddie Adams Workshop Black Team since 1992. He was the first recipient of the National Geographic Society’s annual summer photography department fellowship for college instructors. Through these programs McNay’s range of contacts allowed him to create one of the nation’s more diverse and innovative on-campus professional guest lecturer series both at Brooks Institute and at San Jose State. During his presidency of the National Press Photographers Association, McNay worked with the Poynter Institute to help the association through a period of internal review at the time of hiring a new executive director. McNay studied at the University of Washington (political science and history), Rochester Institute of Technology (photojournalism) and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. As a photographer he worked for the New Iberia, Louisiana Daily Iberian and the Houston Post.